Well, I’ve done it. I’ve survived my first week of being a teacher! Well, I haven’t actually taught anyone yet. The school I work at has had a full week of training and the real work begins on Monday, but already I’ve had reality check after reality check and I feel like I know close on 100% more about the job than I did a week ago.
Generally though, this week has been great. With no kids in the school it has been easy to get to know staff a bit more, especially the other new ones, and set up my classroom. On Monday morning I jumped out of bed with so much energy and excitement that I was ready to set off an hour early and consequently was in bed several hours earlier than planned that evening. The beginning of the week was exhausting. There’s no other way to say it. There was so much information to take in, and so many to-do lists to write that everyone I spoke to felt as though their lives were on hold while we got this week out of the way.
By Wednesday I felt I was getting the hang of balancing my energy levels so I could cope with whatever the day brought and still remain awake past 6pm. It was rough though. Midweek was when I received my class list and got to know a lot about the students I will be teaching. Distraught doesn’t even come close to how I felt when I read about a lot of them and their backgrounds, and that was before I was asked to make home visits…
I think home visits are a great idea if it’s possible to make them. I’m lucky that I’m only teaching one class and so I don’t have many students in total, so getting to know not only the students, but the parents too, will be a lot easier than it will for most teachers.
I was seriously nervous about the home visits. I was told to prepare myself for a lot of strong reactions from parents about the class their child has been selected to go into, and this unnerved me a lot. Like most things though, once I’d started I realised I’d be absolutely fine. Most parents were incredibly supportive and quite excited that their child will have more learning support than most, and entering their homes is a great way of gaining a true picture of their home life and the sort of support that child receives out of school. I did feel a bit intrusive, just appearing on doorsteps, but most were welcoming and mentioned how they appreciated the effort of a personal visit from their child’s teacher. Only one parent questioned my age and experience, but that was always going to happen at some point, and I completely understand and support their questioning. I would want to make sure my child was receiving the best education possible to them too.
The other great thing about meeting parents is knowing that come parents evening (the first one being only 3 weeks away!), I won’t be worried if I have to say anything critical about a child if I’ve already met the parent and know they are supportive.
Besides this, the news that lesson observations will take place this month came as a bit of a shock; there’ll be almost no time to get used to teaching first before this happens, but again, it’s important to remember that I’m not the only one this will happen to and it’s never as bad as it seems (I really hope I don’t have to eat those words).
So, overall I’d say this: Monday and Tuesday – full of energy, went home utterly stressed. Wednesday – got the hang of managing my energy and hours in the evening, felt a lot more at ease. Thursday – started to feel on top of things! Friday – wished there was another day to get organised at school, but glad it’s the weekend!
I can’t believe how fast the week has gone and how the hours in the day seem to last all of five minutes. I still have a lot to do before Monday and this weekend definitely won’t be the feet-up kind, but I do know that I’m going to love what I do and that makes it all fine.
Let’s see what Monday morning brings!